taking the words of Jesus seriously

It’s time for a different kind of 4th of July.

In too many Christian circles, religious nationalism has become an idol — as exemplified most recently by the church choir of First Baptist Dallas performing their rendition of “Make America Great Again” at the Celebrate Freedom Rally.

As In(ter)dependence Day nears, we must rethink what it means to serve both God and country and find a way forward that heals the deep divides in our nation. Red Letter Christians is proud to partner with The People’s Supper in making this happen meal by meal, neighbor to neighbor, community by community.

In the wake of the recent election, The People’s Supper hosted hundreds of dinners across the country to help “repair the breach in our interpersonal relationships across political, ideological, and identity differences, leading to more civil civic discourse.”

As Micky ScottBey Jones explains: “Throughout human history, sharing a meal has stood as one of the few things all of us have in common. As Christians, we’re always gathering around a table for one reason or another. We gather for the eucharist. We gather for dinner and a Bible study. We gather for a meal as part of a celebration of a life now gone from us. We gather for picnics and parties and as part of observing our holiest days.”

In so doing, The People’s Supper has created “brave space” for thousands of people to encounter one another, find collective healing, and bridge differences together.

This time, the group is seeking to expand their efforts and reclaim the 4th of July by launching The Pledge of Allegiance to Each Other.

#ThePeoplesPledge is both a celebration and call to action that affirms one’s relationship and connection to one’s neighbors and community. It also encourages signers to take action by inviting them to host a People’s Supper in order to tangibly build community beyond the labels, identities, and unconditional patriotism that are often shouted on the 4th.

“The 4th of July, at its best,” states The People’s Supper, “is a time to celebrate unity, community, and the creation of community in our neighborhoods – and at worst, a time to fan the flames of nationalism, a narrow and exclusionary view of what it means to be a citizen of the United States, and unquestioned patriotism. The recent polarized election, a measurable rise in hate crimes, and lack of communication across social and political lines have amplified the different expectations, concerns, and challenges brought to our civic and family gatherings. We are taking the best aspects of the 4th of July to own this day as a time to celebrate and build a new type of community.”

Read the pledge below and prayerfully consider signing it. And while you’re at it, reach out to The People’s Supper (info@thepeoplessupper.orgfor tips on how to host your own BBQ, picnic, or meal this week as part of your pledge commitment.

With neighbors and strangers alike, we can build a better nation that aspires for more than just idolatrous worship or greatness, but one that seeks true justice, equality, and shalom for all.

The Pledge of Allegiance to Each Other

We the people are committed to our neighbors next door and miles away. We pledge to one another to live into a visionary American story of unity in diversity, and hope over fear.

To myself:
I pledge to love myself so that I might better love my neighbor.

To my neighbors:
I pledge to meet you at the table of community in which we can all thrive.

To those around the table:
I pledge to listen deeply to understand where your story intersects with and diverges from mine.

To each other:
We commit the time and energy needed to create a greater future. I will walk beside you, knowing that we may not get there quickly but we will get there together.

About The Author

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Elaina is the Content Coordinator of Red Letter Christians. With a decade of campaign, advocacy, and communications experience at the intersections of faith and politics, Elaina loves listening to people’s stories and engaging communities for social change. She has served as a gender justice advocate and community organizer for various nonprofits and campaigns, including Sojourners, Women’s Action for New Directions, and Obama for America. She holds a master's in theological studies from Wesley Theological Seminary and a master's degree in international peace and conflict resolution from American University. Elaina freelances as a copy editor and consultant to help elevate the stories of underrepresented voices in digital and print media. She resides in Ohio with her boxer-pit and is an avid singer, traveler, and boxer.

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